Photography by Shaun Mader
Press & Quotes
"Dirty Mae have made a name for their striking, cabaret-inspired performances and rare blend of New Orleans blues and soulful folk traditions."
- RJ Frometa, Vents Magazine
"There’s a lot of genre diversity in Dirty Mae’s music, but regardless of the sound, what is always present is that the listener can FEEL it."
"Fireman colors delightfully outside the lines and injects both the traditional storyline and the popular radio hit with a bit of potent femininity and a dusty western coating. Alongside band mates Ben Curtis and Robbie Frost, the group creep through the creaky woodlands for song ("Big Red") that wields urgency and intimacy."
- Jason Scott, B-Sides & Badlands
"Leaving the event, I felt an utter sense of joy and strength knowing these powerful and talented people are thriving..."
- Sarvani Ramcharran, Indie Witches
Dirty Mae is an NYC born-and-bred indie folk band blending bluegrass, blues, rock, latin and Americana roots music. With remarkable success, since forming in 2016, it comes as no surprise that venues and festivals across the country are beginning to request Dirty Mae. In less than 3 years together, they've outgrown their Harlem roots and taken audiences by storm with their truly original sound, powerful performance and theatrical flair. They headlined Lucille's at BB Kings, (le) poisson rouge, Rockwood Music Hall & Citifield's Subway Series Concert. In 2019 alone, they co-founded the Big Red Fest to empower women in music, received over 20,000 views on SCENES Live Sessions, and were hand-picked by Adam Duritz (of Counting Crows) to perform in his Underwater Sunshine Festival. Their most recent hit single & music video "Big Red," caught the attention of female driven blogs and reviewers nationwide. Their Freshman self-titled EP (released July 2018) showed their knack for songwriting, harmonizing, catchy beats and unique, New Orleans-inspired flair. Their Sophomore Long Play "Holy Mama," is set to release this September and showcases their incredible diversity, range and talent featuring haunting harmonies, raw grit, soulful blues, melodic ballads and foot stomping beats. Their instrumentation includes banjo, harmonica, guitar, piano/organ, bass (upright & electric), fiddle, sax and signature trombone.
The band was co-founded by three diverse and unique singer/songwriters: California-native Cassie Fireman, Ohioan piano/guitarist Robin Frost, and Tennessee raised banjo/guitarist/harmonica player, Ben Curtis. Curtis, is no stranger to the spotlight as his vocal grit, southern-bred blues and flair for the dramatic arts, has landed him success in bands for over 20 years (not to mention he was America's favorite TV spokesperson "The Dell Dude"). But it wasn't until he met the sultry and seductive Californian, Cassie Fireman, that he became completely smitten. Her magnetic cabaret style, crooner-like voice, and an insatiable gift for lyrics and poetry put a spell on the Southern boy. Their connection is electric and there's no escaping their unbreakable bond. They have the wedding rings to prove it, but wait till you see them on stage. They've since had 3 musical projects together ranging from bluegrass to hard rock. However, something in their sound was missing, and that something was the young musical prodigy, Robin Frost. Curtis befriended Frost when they both played for an indie rock band, Danny Fingers & The Thumbs. "That band was looking for a new bassist. We found Robbie and he learned our entire set in one night. Not only was he super talented, he was one of the most easy going and loving people I've ever met. If anyone could complete a band with Cassie and me, it was this guy. One day we were at a rehearsal, and Robbie picked up a guitar and started singing... I was floored. He is a great bassist, but an even better guitarist, and when he opened his mouth to sing... wow. He has the voice of an old soul from New Orleans in the 1920's. I pulled out my harmonica, and we wrote 4 songs right there on the spot." Curtis & Frost immediately left the Thumbs, started their own project with Miss Fireman, and the rest was history. Thus emerged the truly unique sound that is DIRTY MAE.
With the three founding members coming from completely different backgrounds, it's hard to nail their sound into one genre. One editor described it as "New Orleans Ghost Folk." Emmy-nominated composer, Michael Whalen said "it's like listening to two characters from a Faulkner novel making music today." Our Northern contingency calls it "indie folk," while our Southern friends say "just call it Americana!" Whatever you call it, it is an unforgettable sound of old and new worlds, that will keep you swinging all night long. Together they are a recipe for unmistakable success. Hard to believe they've only just begun.
“Don’t touch! I’ll be right back!” my dad said pointing to his cold beer. As he disappeared into the bathroom I guzzled down his Bud Light as fast as a 5 year old could. I was free as a bird twirling around in my purple dress singing to everyone. I had the dinner crowd in the palms of my hands for a whole 3 minutes before hitting the ground and vomiting on an old man's shoe. I guess I've always been trying to get back to that magical moment of feeling like I'm one with everyone else and singing does that for me. I'm still just a big kid who wants to play and music is my playground. I'm lucky I get to do this with my band who I love even more than avocados.
The son of a preacher man, sharing the "good news," has always come naturally to Ben. Born with a banjo on his back and a harmonica in his hand, this Tennessee boy has been making music since he could could reach a piano. "Being a preacher's kid, I've always been a rebel and through music, I saw that it made people smile. It brings folks together. Plus, I can still break the rules and get away with it." But it didn't come without a price. "I've always worn my heart on my sleeve. I'm secretly a big softy. It makes for great music but tough on the soul. But every time I play, I'm reminded that, through connection, the pain disappears and we all become one." It is through this bond that Ben found his wife, Cassie and brother-from-another-mother, Robbie. 3 peas in a pod. "Because of you guys, I'll never be the same. In a good way."
I remember the first time I shared my love of music with other people. I was about four or five years old and my dad had just shown me James Brown’s “I feel good.” I couldn’t stop singing it and trying to dance like James Brown. I went around to as many family members as I could, did my impression and it always made people smile. I've always loved sharing music with people whether it be playing, jamming or listening to it with them.
Top Venues & Draw
Rockwood Music Hall - Stage 2: 125 PEOPLE
Norwood Club NYC: 120 PEOPLE
Bitter End NYC: 60 PEOPLE
Le Poisson Rouge: 100 PEOPLE
Lucille's Blues Club @ BB Kings: 200 PEOPLE
DDC Festival: 200 PEOPLE
Big Red Fest: 75 PEOPLE
7 MEMBER STAGE PLOT